“The physician who knows how to harmonize the liver knows how to treat the hundred diseases.” – Zhou Xuehai, Reflections Upon Reading the Medical Classics
The liver, it’s the unsung hero of the body, tirelessly it works day and night to process hormones, produce energy and eliminate or neutralize toxins. Of course, that is assuming we even have enough water and nutrient co-factors on board to allow it to properly function.
And even though for many of us chronic dehydration and nutrient deficiencies are a very real issue the liver is extremely resilient. According to our current scientific understanding the liver can take one hell of a beating and still be able to regenerate itself and function at a lower level and it seems to do so with greater capacity than most of our other vital organs, personally I think it’s possible to regenerate pretty much any tissue or organ system when we harness the power of stem cells and other cutting edge therapies, seriously this stuff is straight out of science fiction.
That said, the liver is a critically important organ and it’s impaired function is implicated in most cases of dis-ease because the functions it performs affect every other organ system and cell within the body.
It comes as no surprise then that most of our livers have taken a beating. On a daily basis we are exposed to hundreds if not thousands of different chemicals and heavy metals – all of which increase our total body burden and require specific nutrients to be processed by the liver – combined with the fact that we don’t move enough – resulting in sub-optimal lymphatic function – and we eat food that lacks the nutrient density we need in order to counteract these forces.
I remember when I did my first ever food sensitivity and organ testing with a Naturopathic Doctor. She used a device that connected a probe to acupressure points on my finger and hand and compared specific frequencies in order to get an idea of what my body was sensitive or intolerant to as well as to see which organs are stressed.
Now I know I probably lost some of you with that reference to a bio–meridian testing device, simply put our bodies and the organs within our bodies as well as foods and parasites etc. have energetic signatures that are measured via electrical resistance and which when compared to a standard healthy value are indicative of imbalance or food sensitivities and allergies. This sort of testing has been around quite a while and is “officially” viewed in a similar light to Ozone therapy which is labelled quackery in North America even though it is safe, effective, cheap and used at clinics around the world.
It turned out that even back then (2011) my liver was quite stressed. My adrenal glands were in rough shape as well and I had Candida overgrowth that was beginning to wreak havoc on my health.
In between now and then I’ve certainly done a lot for my liver including taking herbs like Milk Thistle, regular doses of vitamin C and Turmeric (Phytosome Curcuminfor even better effects) and I’ve even made a practice of giving myself coffee enemas on a regular basis which although may be off putting at first – many people I talk to have issues feeling comfortable with their colon – can seriously help to transform your health.
These healthy habits combined with not drinking alcohol more than a few times a year have definitely helped my liver to bounce back and function at a higher level. I know this because of my reduced sensitivity to strong scents and chemical fumes as well as the absence of dark bags under my eyes even when I’m getting 7-8 hours of sleep.
For a while I was so sensitive that perfumes and cleaners would give me an instant headache and a runny nose and I’m happy to report that those things don’t happen nearly as often anymore.
So recently when my partner and I took a trip to Manitoulin Island for 12 days I decided it was time to do our first liver / gallbladder flush.
After 9 days of hiking, relaxation, and living in the rhythm of mother earth the time had come. I had been aware of this procedure for years and just never decided to do it whereas my partner had never heard of it before but still very agreeable and enthusiastic to take part.
We had been drinking our Kidney tea blend which consisted of Hydrangea Root, Gravel Root, Marshmallow Root, Ginger Root, Uva Ursi, and a handful of fresh parsley for the past 15 days in order to prepare and I had brought all of the necessary materials up with us which included:
- 1 bottle of Malic Acid Capsules (Genestra Brand)
- 1 enema bag
- 1 box of epsom salts (USP grade)
- 2 large organic grapefruits (for fresh juice)
- 1 bottle of organic extra virgin olive oil
- 1 bottle of organic partially ozonated olive oil (Pur O3 Brand)
- 2 shaker cups
- 1 cup of pre-ground organic coffee (for enemas)
The guide we followed was The Amazing Liver Cleanse by Andreas Mortiz (3rd Edition, 2012) which details how gallstones form, why they are such a common issue, the major impacts they have on our health, how to start removing them without surgery, and what to expect when doing so.
For a basic instruction set checkout this post by Wellness Mama, though it is fairly simple in execution I highly recommend reading through Moritz’s book to get a deeper understanding of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Take notes and create a “Liver Love” reminder card that keeps your liver’s health in your awareness after your first flush.
According to Moritz our un-natural diets and life-ways quickly lead to the formation of gallstones in the liver which over time will multiply and calcify. While that happens, bile flow is progressively impeded until you’re “un-lucky” enough to have a stone get stuck somewhere that causes pain and have a gallbladder attack. These attacks are reportedly very painful and from there it tends to get worse until you either take medication to try and dissolve the stones – which can be mildly effective – or get surgery. Surgery which is sold as safe, effective, and without serious potential for negative consequences…
I can’t speak for you, but personally I’d like to keep my body intact, and rather than remove a part of my body due to dis-ease, I want to retain and enhance my capacity for having a healthy, life preserving liver.
This epidemic of people having their gallbladders removed (over 500,000 each year in the US alone) is yet another staple of how Western Medicine operates and its’ bias towards surgeries that are almost completely preventable. Here’s an example scenario:
Something isn’t working in an organ system and a patient has serious pain, upon investigation it seems they’ve got gallstones… Rather than working to identify WHY and to REVERSE it naturally, how about we just cut them open and surgically remove the problem?
Such is the thinking behind many of these procedures.
The worst part is that those who do have the surgery are usually not educated and encouraged to take Enzymes with Bile when eating fatty foods or to take Lecithin before meals to assist in fat absorption. Typically patients are recommended to avoid fats, arguably the most important macronutrient for staying healthy for life, and hope for the best.
Knowing that my gallbladder has been struggling for a while I decided that the time to get started flushing my hepato-biliary system (liver and gallbladder) was now and because we would be in a relaxed environment without major responsibilities it seemed like the perfect time.
You might wonder how I know my gallbladder has issues at all? I don’t have gallbladder attacks or severe pain so is this just guesswork? Have I read too many forums and blog posts and convinced myself I’ve got something that’s not even a real issue?
How I know my Gallbladder and Liver need love is through my work with various practitioners over the past 5 years. I’ve had bio-electrical testing that has shown that the liver and gallbladder are stressed. I’ve had Live Blood Cell Microscopy which showed that I wasn’t digesting fat. I also had a bio-feedback scan that said I had parasites in my liver – very common when bile flow gets backed up and you live in the kind of world that we do today with pets, travel to the tropics, and foods such as sushi which if not prepared properly or digested with enough stomach acid can be a vector for parasitic infection. For more reading on this checkout Guess What Came to Dinner.
In order to prepare for the flush it’s suggested to eat clean meals, avoid cold food, alcohol, greasy food, drugs, dairy, meat etc. Get to bed on time, rest well, and eat at regular times each day. Along with this you must take malic acid each day (1.5 – 2 grams) which is typically found in organic raw apple juice that is drank at a rate of 1 liter per day for six days leading up to the flush. We opted to skip the sugary juice and just use supplemental capsules which we mixed in warm water and sipped throughout the day.
The Malic acid is supposed to help soften the stones in preparation of flushing them out and in the warm to hot water it did remind me of a sour cider.
So this is what we did and although we did have a bit of cheese during a dinner with friends we were for the most part very diligent with easing the load on the liver before the big event.
Taking Things Up a Level
Being the experimental person that I am I wanted to kick the regular protocol up a notch and include ozonated olive oil rather than just the regular stuff. Ozone is a powerful oxidant and kills virtually any bacteria, fungi, virus or parasite that it comes into contact with and so the plan was to flush the liver and have the ozone there to destroy any bad guys (pathogens) that had taken up residence among the stones.
We had no idea how intense this process would be and what we was waiting for us, had I known how uncomfortable it would be I may have opted out, alas, ignorance is
On the day of the flush we ate lightly (no fat or protein dense foods). Breakfast was a cup of bio-dynamic oatmeal without sugar or fat (I used some cinnamon and ginger to flavour it and would have used un-sweetened nut milk if I had any on hand) and lunch was basmati rice with steamed vegetables, seasoned with pink salt. After 2 pm there is no food allowed and it’s just warm water on the menu until 6 pm which is where you drink your first Epsom salt mixture.
The Epsom salts were bitter, bitter and un-settling, and seemed to bring on a bit of a delirious and spacey feeling which was also due I think to the fasting and its potential effect on blood sugar. The next dose at 8 pm was a bit harder to get down but after rinsing with baking soda and brushing my teeth my mouth was cleansed. Apparently it doesn’t taste as bad if you keep it cold in the fridge, also using a large straw to bypass your taste buds is something that was recommended and is what I’m going to do in future flushes.
As the time to drink the oil and juice mixture approached we decided we would do a 50/50 mix of extra virgin olive oil with the Ozonated oil, this was after hearing from a friend who had done 100% ozonated that he had been puking and shitting his brains out and was left with a headache and low energy for days afterwards.
So we prepared the mix, we would each take, ½ cup of EVOO, ½ cup of ozonated oil and ¾ cup of organic grapefruit juice (pulp removed). The idea here is that after not having fat or protein all day the bile in the gallbladder has been building up and so drinking this large bolus of fat all at once would cause it to squeeze and being to push out the stones through the ducts that had been relaxed now due to the Epsom salts which are a Magnesium Sulfate salt, Magnesium being largely responsible for relaxation and dilation of blood vessels, and other passageways in the body.
We got ready ourselves ready for bed and the overnight purging and before lying down, shook our mixtures to ensure the juice and fat had blended together, did a cheers to health and then chugged. It wasn’t nearly as bad as the Epsom salts and was quite tasty if you could get over the oily texture.
From here it was IMMEDIATELY into bed, lying down and not moving, Moritz stresses the importance of this as it will determine how many stones come out. We lay next to each other, silently holding hands and waiting for sleep, for me it came after about 15 minutes and ended a few hours later when i awoke for the first time at 1am ready to shit my brains out. This was the pattern for the next 12 hours or so. Wake up feeling awful, go upstairs and shit then back to sleep. Around 3am I began to puke and out came what was left of the grapefruit ozonated olive oil mixture. It definitely wasn’t enjoyable coming up and burned quite a bit.
Puking gave relief and allowed me to sleep another hour or two before it was time to purge again.
And so it went, roll over, get comfortable, pass out for an hour or two and then get up, stumble to the bathroom with puke bucket in hand and let loose, wipe, wash hands, spit and rinse mouth if having puked, shuffle my way back to bed, crawl in and repeat.
As morning approached I was wondering if I’d be able to stomach the next two doses of Epsom salts and mentally had convinced myself that I couldn’t, however when my partner Jessica stated that she was ready and going to go for it then I followed suit. Her strength helped bring me through drinking that 6 am bitterness which, it turned out came right back up about 45 minutes later.
As 8 am approached I knew there was no way I was drinking the last dose, my body had been through enough and rest, warm water and electrolytes were what I was ready for.
I mixed some warm water with a package of Ener-C (1000mg Vitamin C, some B vitamins and electrolytes sweetened with a bit of fructose) and topped it off with dried ginger to help the nausea and boy was it glorious! The warm, sweet, salty mixture caressed my mouth and enlivened my spirit.
From here I lay down on the couch to read and wait until 10 am when we were allowed to have fruit juice which we turned into having a couple slices of the leftover grapefruit.
Again, it was a deeply satisfying experience as the sour juice exploded into our mouths.
Then back to the couch as this I sipped on coconut water mixed with Rise’s Chlorophyll and Mint Kombucha.
Soon it was time to continue flushing the colon and so I prepared us warm salt water enemas that we used for flushing the bowels. I would get cozy on the floor using my brown towel under my torso and another towel rolled up under my head, insert the apparatus and let the 600 mL of warm water enter in. From there I did inversions, yoga poses, cat cow, downward dog and rolled across the towel in order to spread the water throughout and help flush any stones or bile residue from the colon.
Then it was onto the toilet to release that and prepare the coffee mixture that we’d be using for retention.
I use organic, locally roasted coffee whenever possible and simmer it for 15 minutes on the stove top, then I strain it with a metal strainer to remove the grounds and either wait for it to cool, or more commonly, add ice cubes to bring it to body temperature (quite warm to the touch but not scalding around 37 degrees Celsius).
It is important not to use paper filters as they can bind some of the beneficial acids, Specifically Palmitic Acid which is associated with increased Glutathione S-Transferase activity and the conjugation of free radicals which are then released by the gallbladder.
It’s this activity in the liver that is the real reason that coffee enemas are as effective as they are. There’s good reason why they use multiple enemas daily within The Gerson Therapy.
When our livers are sick and stagnant our entire body and energy follows suit.
I for one love the coffee enema, it gives me time to meditate, read, self massage, write or work. You can check email on your phone while listening to alpha brain wave music and digging massage balls into your tender spots, what more could you ask for in a morning routine!?
I’ve done everything from laundry to a pretty solid workout while holding a colon full of coffee. It’s usually about 10 or 15 minutes into retention that the warm, clear-headed, non-jittery focus and energy boost becomes apparent and I begin to want to move, dance, do handstands or lift weights.
Getting back to the Liver Flush though, although I did feel better after the coffee retention the headache was still there so we went for a walk outside. We walked about 20 minutes down the road and enjoyed the mild temperature, bright sunny day and cold air. It definitely eased the headache to walk outside. After feeling weak and just wanting to lay in bed the movement and fresh air was a really nice change.
We hiked up alongside a small stream that was running faster now that the snow was melting and followed it to where it sprung out of the earth.
We foraged for mushrooms and Jessica picked herself a beautiful Birch Polypore.
I was on the hunt for Chaga though never did spot any during our time on the island. I’m sure it grows there, I just need to explore more of the areas that are populated with older Birch, something to look forward to on future visits for sure.
After we returned we ate rice and soup with sprouted beans and a bit of avocado. I finished up the Kombucha and then we lay down on our left sides on the couch to digest and spoon.
It has become our after meal ritual and is just the best, eat together then get cozy in a left sided spoon and sink into rest and digest mode. It definitely beats distracted eating and then running out the door as is so often the case these days.
Most times we ended up falling asleep and having a mini nap which felt very luxurious and simply perfect, winding down and re-aligning with mother nature’s rhythms was a big intention behind going to the Island in the first place.
We had played with the idea of going south to somewhere like Costa Rica or Equador but after looking at flights and not feeling it I was sold when Jess suggested Manitoulin. I had a deep desire to explore more of Northern Ontario and am also very keen to learn about First Nations history, traditions and community which made this trip absolutely perfect.
I read a great book called The Sacred Tree while I was there that I’d highly recommend to anyone interested in First Nations traditions and worldviews. It’s simple, straight-forward and has lots of pictures which help to transmit it’s deep wisdom and practicality.
Top 3 Takeaways from my First Liver Flush
- Use Ozonated Olive Oil for no more than ¼ of the total oil mixture in order to reduce die off overload and potentially nausea.
- Take Modified Citrus Pectin or binder of your choice such as Activated Charcoal or Zeolite with warm water or tea the day following the flush in order to bind and excrete any toxic wastes that were released into circulation. The idea being that this would prevent or greatly reduce the headache. I’ll try next time and report back.
- Don’t wait so long (at least 4 years for myself) before trying something new and uncomfortable. There is never a perfect time so just get clear on what you want, do your research and then make it happen.
I hope you’ve found this interesting and entertaining, if you have any questions about my experience or want to talk about your health symptoms in a free 30 minute consult then contact me at [email protected]
I have a few coaching slots available for individuals that are ready to overhaul their health and lives.
Be well and Stay Optimal!